with Robin Hemley at the National Association of Memoir Writers Teleconference Oct. 21
As most of you know, one of the events I most enjoy putting together as president
of the National Association of Memoir Writers is our bi-annual Telesummit. This
Friday I’m spending 5 hours with authors I admire, whose works have changed me,
shaped my thinking toward more creative choices, pushing me toward using
language to carve out even deeper truths. Robin’s memoir Nola makes me ask the questions that he asks: whose version of “truth”
is “real.” Can we trust memory, or do we create our story based on emotional need or unconscious beliefs. His book Turning Your Life into Fiction is one of the best books I’ve read about story writing, all the angles to look at when drawing
from our lives to create a story.
Robin Hemley is going to talk with us about one of the most important issues in memoir writing Truth—how
to find it within us, and how reflect upon our personal truths and agendas as we write.
To read more about the Telesummit, go to the National Association of Memoir
Writers to sign up. You will receive a link to the 5 hour downloadable audio after the conference is over.
Robin has shared with us his outline for our discussion at the teleconference.
The Trouble with the Truth
Any time we set down to write the truth of our lives we have to face the fact that there is no
single truth to our lives. To make matters more complex we’re different people at different times in our lives and
we show different faces to different people. The portrayal of an “authentic” self is something most memoir writers
strive for, but there are always details we omit or exaggerate or forget, or hidden agendas even we aren’t aware of as we’re writing. While we don’t want to lie, we also have to understand that what we aspire to write is closer to art than a court room
transcript. It’s not all about content. There are aesthetic concerns as well. Above all, you have to remember
that once an event has passed, it’s gone forever and words can’t recreate the event. They can only create a semblance
of the event.
We will discuss
- Distance and the imagination
- Precision of language versus precision of memory
- Writing associatively rather than chronologically
- Including primary texts in your memoir
- Legal and ethical issues that arise whether you write
fiction or nonfiction
I’m eager to talk with Robin, and I hope you all will join us for this fabulous free conference!